NEW YORK, May 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Montana has the highest rate of suicide in the United States. With nearly 23 suicides for every 100,000 in population, Montana's rate is double that of the national average. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation's largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will be giving an award to Representative Edie McClafferty of Montana for her efforts in helping to prevent suicide. The award will be presented to Representative McClafferty on Tuesday, May 31 at 8:45 a.m. in a general assembly at the school where she is also a fifth grade teacher in Butte, Montana.
"Educating school personnel about suicide prevention is one way to help save the lives of at risk students. We applaud Representative McClafferty for her leadership in making this a reality in the state of Montana," said Robert Gebbia, the CEO of AFSP.
In the 2015 Legislative Session, Representative McClafferty was the primary sponsor of House Bill 374, the "Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training Act", which was signed into law by Governor Bullock on April 29, 2015. The law now requires the office of public instruction to provide training materials to schools on youth suicide awareness and prevention and encourages educators to complete regular suicide awareness and prevention training.
Representative McClafferty was also actively involved with House Bill 568 during this last session. The aim of this bill was to require training for primary care and mental health providers in suicide assessment, treatment, and management. While ultimately HB 568 did not pass, the AFSP Montana chapter has high hopes that a similar bill will be successful in the next legislative session, and plans on working with McClafferty to that aim.
Representative McClafferty also made time in her busy schedule to attend and speak at Butte's first Out of the Darkness Community Walk on September 13, 2015.
Representative McClafferty has served four terms in the Montana House of Representatives, and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the House Education Committee.
Suicide in Montana
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-44 in the state. Over eight times as many people die by suicide in Montana annually than by homicide. Suicide is the 7th leading cause of death overall in Montana. On average, one person dies by suicide every 35 hours in the state.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that's smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention